Egan Bernal is out of the Giro d’Italia 2019 after breaking his collarbone in a crash during a training ride on Saturday.
The 22-year-old had recently returned from his native Colombia to Andorra where he was doing his final preparations for the Giro, his first leadership role at a Grand Tour.
Team Ineos confirmed he had broken his collarbone in an accident but did not elaborate on the details, saying more information will follow.
Bernal posted a picture on his Instagram story showing him sitting in a hospital room, with his arm in a sling, plaster on his leg and a cut on his nose.
He captioned the picture, saying: “My friends, we’ll see you soon. Stay calm, this is the only thing that gives me motivation to train hard for the rest of the season.”
Bernal has had a stellar season so far, winning Paris-Nice overall and performing well at the Volta a Catalunya, finishing third overall. He was due to lead the Ineos team in their first Grand Tour under their new title sponsor, with Brit Tao Geoghegan Hart and Tour of the Alps winner Pavel Sivakov. Gianni Moscon was also set to feature in the team but reports have suggested the Italian’s poor form means he wont take the start in Bologna on May 11.
Team Ineos’ Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome are both set to ride the 2019 Tour de France, and the young Colombian could now join them. Bernal could either be used in a support role or as part of a three-pronged attack, similar to how Movistar have previously attempted to utilise their trident of Nairo Quintana, Alejandro Valverde and Mikel Landa to break Ineos’ grip on the race.